Otter, Newborn warming Bassinet


Malory conducting user research with Doctors in Moc Chao, Vietnam

Malory conducting user research with Doctors in Moc Chao, Vietnam

Research, validation and fabrication of a conductive warmer that will prevent newborn hypothermia in developing countries

Company: Design that Matters

Project Outcome: A functional alpha prototype that maintains a surface temperature of 36°C. Each design feature is validated through clinical and user research. This Prototype traveled to Vietnam in December 2016 for market research.
2016 - present

Team: Lead: Malory Johnson
ID: Karan Mudgal
ME: Kristine Chen
Clinical research: Kristen Moulton

Project website

 

Story-Telling exercise video made by Malory Johnson using After effects and hours of video captured over years of international research.

Otter Summary

For district hospitals in resource poor areas who want to treat low birthweight newborns at birth rather than risk transporting them to crowded central facilities, Otter is a conductive warming bassinet that allows thermally stable newborns to avoid developing hypothermia while undergoing other treatments. 

Unlike devices that provide a regulated microclimate that are complicated to use and maintain (for example incubators and radiant warmers), Otter provides affordable active warming that is easy to clean and hard to use wrong.


Interview with Dr. Ryan Carroll, global health expert who works most of the year as a doctor in Uganda.

Interview with Dr. Ryan Carroll, global health expert who works most of the year as a doctor in Uganda.

Research Objective: User Adoption

Otter is unique in the landscape of newborn warmers because it warms through contact (like a foot warmer) rather than warming the environment like the standard incubator or radiant warmer. Because of this foreign feature, Otter is often met with hesitation by clinical staff, and for good reason. With active heating, a simple mistake could lead to harmful outcomes. Our research question is this: How might we design Otter such that Doctors, Nurses and mothers feel confident that the baby is safe?

Concept review with Head Nurse at Moc Chao District Hospital in Vietnam

Concept review with Head Nurse at Moc Chao District Hospital in Vietnam

Interview with Dr. Silvia Testa at St. Elizabeth's NICU in Boston

Interview with Dr. Silvia Testa at St. Elizabeth's NICU in Boston

The video to the right follows our most recent field research story and explains our approach to human factors and design research.


Design and CAD

Fusion 360 was used to generate many iterations on form and UI for Otter. These models were used in field research to test assumptions on user priorities. 

Below are two sacrificial concepts exploring the perception of comfort. Would the user rather have a rigid contour that's easy to clean or a soft insert that will get lost over time?

Team CAD discussion using one of the newly donated ThinkStation from Lenovo.

Team CAD discussion using one of the newly donated ThinkStation from Lenovo.

 
Would the user rather have a rigid contour that's easy to clean or a soft insert that will get lost over time?

Would the user rather have a rigid contour that's easy to clean or a soft insert that will get lost over time?

 

Otter is designed to supplement Kangaroo Mother Care, KMC, when it is not possible. For example, if the mother is contagious, or if the newborn needs treatment for any other illnesses. Otter maintains a surface temperature of 36°C which mimics the mother's skin temperature. 

Otter Interfaces with Firefly, the world's most effective phototherapy device for low resource hospitals. Otter and Firefly can treat two of the most common neonatal issues: Jaundice and hypothermia. 

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Alpha Prototype Fabrication

As residents at the new Autodesk BUILD Space in Boston, we had access to a plethora of state-of-the-art rapid prototyping machinery. On a timeline of around one month, we finished a functional alpha prototype for Otter that is ready for testing over-seas.

 

CNC Vacuum-form Plugs in MDF

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Vacuum-forming Clear Polycarb

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3D Printed Housing and Electronic Packing

Electrical engineering was accomplished by Kristine Chen

Electrical engineering was accomplished by Kristine Chen

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